Summer is a great time to bond with your pet. Long summer drives, time spent in the park, hiking, gardening, and even taking a few pet-friendly road trips. But the summer months can also be dangerous for pets (and people). Here are a few tips to help your pet beat the heat this summer.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. I love the brightly colored falling leaves, sweaters and boots, the crisp kiss of frost in the air, and harvesting the last of summer’s vegetables from the garden – fat pumpkins in orange and white, twisted gourds, and even a few squash and zucchini that still cling to the vine. But fall is also a reminder that winter and all its hardships for outdoor and community cats is right around the corner.
For those of us who care for outdoor critters, the seasons have their own rhythm. Spring means making sure that winter debris like old straw is cleared away, that shelters are repaired after a hard season of snow and ice, and that feeding stations are cleaned and often replaced.
Twelve years ago this November one of the feral cats I cared for, Snowy, disappeared. He had been a part of the colony, it’s “king” really, for many years and every morning he greeted me with a sweet, hungry meow and a little headbonk. His appearance was the cue for the other cats in the colony to come stretching out of their little cat houses or leaping out of the ramshackle barn that was the center of their community. Then, one day, he just wasn’t there.
There’s probably nothing more frightening for a pet owner than hearing that little “humpf” from their veterinarian while they’re listening to their kitty’s heart. But just because your cat has a heart murmur doesn’t mean that something is seriously wrong with your cat. Heart murmurs are common in cats of all ages and something that vets encounter on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Finally, some good news for FIV (the feline immunodeficiency virus) positive kitties and those who love them: Dr. Annette L. Litster of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a long-term study which shows that FIV+ cats can live with negative kitties without infecting them and that mothers infected with FIV do not pass their virus on to their kittens.
My kitty took a tumble. It’s certainly not the first time she made a misstep or that she has fallen off the stairs. But a fall for a cat of fifteen is not the same as it is for a cat of five. And although at first Morwen seemed fine and hopped back up immediately and started back up the stairs swatting the offensive kitten who caused her fall, later that night I noticed she was limping on her right hind leg and stopping to rest after a few steps.